Suedi Murekezi, U.S. veteran, freed in Ukraine-Russia prisoner swap

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Suedi Murekezi, a US Air Force veteran whose family says he was captured by pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine earlier this year, has been released through a prisoner exchange, a senior Ukrainian official announced on Wednesday.

Murekezi, who has been living in Ukraine since 2018, was captured by pro-Russian forces in the southern city of Kherson in early June, according to his brother Sele Murekezi, who added that he was falsely accused of taking part in pro-Ukrainian protests. .

Andriy Yermak, the head of the Presidential Office of Ukraine, wrote on Twitter On Wednesday, Murekezi was released along with 64 Ukrainian prisoners of war who had fought in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. He described Murekezi as “an American citizen who helped our people”. The bodies of four other Ukrainians were also repatriated, Yermak added.

Sele Murekezi said that when he spoke to his brother in July, he said he was being held in the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic along with two other US citizens.

Air Force Veteran Held By Pro-Russian Separatists, Brother Says

Born in Rwanda, Suedi Murekezi came to the United States as a teenager and, according to his brother, spent eight years in the Air Force. He later moved to Ukraine and had his base in Kherson – the first major city to fall to Russian forces after the February 24 invasion and recently recaptured by Ukrainian forces.

In September, several foreigners, including two American veterans, five Britons and a Moroccan, were among 300 prisoners released by Russia in a prisoner exchange. Three of the foreign prisoners had previously been sentenced to death.

A total of 1,456 prisoners have been released from Russian captivity or Russian-controlled territory since the conflict began, Andriy Yusov, a spokesman for Ukraine’s coordination headquarters for the treatment of prisoners of war, told The Post on Wednesday.

As the pace of prisoner exchanges between Russia and Ukraine has accelerated in recent weeks, reports of the abuse of detainees in Russian captivity have emerged.

A prisoner of war told The Post he was beaten so badly that his ribs were broken and his kidneys badly injured.

As Ukraine and Russia step up prisoner exchanges, POWs with scars talk about abuse

News of the latest prisoner swap comes days after WNBA star Brittney Griner was released by Moscow in exchange for Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. The United States is also seeking the release of another US national, Paul Whelan, who has been held in Russia for four years and sentenced to 16 years in prison on espionage charges that Washington has labeled false.

Marisa Iati and Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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